I made a decision two and a half years ago: I decided against fast fashion and for conscious consumerism. Today I want to share with you what this decision has meant for me in celebration of Fashion Revolution Day. I’ve also summed up some cool events globally and will be linking other articles about this topic by the Fair Fashion Squad!
My H&M Wardrobe
A couple of years ago I loved the idea to own a whole H&M as my closet. It would be great to have something new to sport every morning and to always be wearing the latest trends, right? But after I had blogged about conventional fashion for over three years here on at least I was done. My closet was full of polyester rags, still I never found the right thing to wear and I had the constant feeling to need more to be part of the fashionistas.
A full closet but nothing to wear
I had heard about alternatives but didn’t know exactly where to get them and if they actually looked okay. And of course there was the money question: How in the world would I be able to afford this? This is how my first fair fashion post appeared here over two years ago – to my surprise it was actually possible to buy good looking ethical fashion and it wasn’t even that expensive.
It didn’t stop with fashion at this point. I started to wonder about my whole lifestyle. Why am I using a straw? Do I need vegetables that have been around the world? Why am I buying a plastic container that holds my soap every month just to trash it afterwards? There’s still many people who laugh at me for this but there must be quite as many that I have infected with my thoughts (even if most of them won’t admit ;)).
In the spirit of Fashion Revolution Day I’ll be digging a little deeper today and will explain why supporting fair fashion and changing your consumption behaviour is worth it – and why you should advocate it in front of others.
A fair and equal payment – that’s something most women dream of. Still it’s mostly us who buy fast fashion and throw our principles away when we enter a shopping mall. “It’s not my fault that others have it bad” is what we think before our bad conscience punishes us for buying the twentieth 5-Euro-shirt. The people who actually made the shirt though are – guess what – mostly women who have no chance on equal pay. And yes: That is our fault.
There is no right on cheap clothing.
Let’s be honest here: Most of us have these ten bugs extra to buy a more expensive t-shirt (actually this sometimes means that you can only buy ONE). We buy this cheap one because we are too comfortable to inform ourselves or we’re afraid that others might think that we’re annoying hippies. That we have a right on cheap clothing (we’re all not millionaires, you know?!) is another deception. Actually somewhere somebody is paying the price.
Exactly four years ago, 1127 people payed this price with their lives. There have been many initiatives since the Rana Plaza catastrophe to change fashion to become more fair for those who are making it. Still it’s hard for most big companies to check exactly where their clothes are made: Their huge order volumes are produced in numerous factories and are sometimes even subcontracted to others without their knowledge.
Where does all the clothing go that comes out of fashion in a snap, that has seams that unravel easily and that doesn’t look so much like the dream that was promised us on the rack? In the back of our closet. Or as second hand items on a market far away where it is the cheap concurrent of locally produced clothes. Or in the trash. Even if H&M, Zara and others like to mix some organic cotton into their materials here and there: A system that bases on steady consumption cannot (and does not want to be) sustainable.
Everything we buy is potential trash. This might sound a little negative but it’s true. That’s why we should consider throughly what we need in our lives as well as what it’s made from. I myself have stopped buying artificial fibers, firstly because they are pretty hard to dispose, secondly because they are releasing small fibers every time you wash them (Hello, micro plastic!), that can’t be filtered by normal purification plants and end up in the ocean.
THE BIG PICTURE
Most of us think that we don’t have any power to change something. But we can – even if I wish it was different: Money is power. Every time a little dark blue bag is carried out of a Zara store, Amancio Ortega’s bank account makes a little ka-ching noise. The Zara founder is the richest man in Europe – and guess who made him to be that.
It’s similar for Karl-Johan Persson, the grandson of H&M founder Erling Persson. Or the CEO of Associated British Foods – the company that owns Primark – Mark Weston: He makes more money with cheap fashion every year, 2014 it was even 23% more, than the year before. While the ones who actually do the work earn mini wages, the bosses of fast fashion companies are getting richer and richer. This is wrong on so many levels that I don’t know what to say about it anymore – besides the fact that things need to change.
There’s of course another reason why I support fair fashion: During the last years a great community has built around this topic that consists of people who really want to change something.
We’ve worked together on an e-book for Fashion Revolution Day that you can register here for the download – you’re of course welcome to share it with your friends and family 🙂
Ask big brands who actually made your clothes for fashion revolution day. Just post a picture of your label to Instagram with the question #WhoMadeMyClothes!
Events on Fashion Revolution Day
There’s tons of events planned worldwide for Fashion Revolution Day! Find all of them on the page of Fashion Revolution and see what’s planned in your neighborhood 😉
Please don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t change anything! We’re a lot and are becoming more and more 😉 Talk to your friends and family about the problems in the fashion industry and don’t let anybody get away with “We can’t do anything…” – because we actually can.